Workers responsible for maintaining and repairing Auckland’s passenger trains are being suspended en masse for 30 days
by their employer, CAF NZ, in a move their union labels a “declaration of war”.
Rail & Maritime Transport Union members were set to begin partial strike action against CAF, in an attempt to campaign for
fairer wages without causing excessive disruption to commuters.
The company has responded with an aggressive 30 day lockout that will cause severe disruptions to the Auckland passenger
network, drastically reducing the number of trains available.
CAF, short for Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, is an infamous Spanish owned labour-hire company with a
global reputation for exploiting migrant workers and driving down industry standards.
CAF’s largely migrant workforce are paid 13% less than those doing the same or similar work for other companies, such as
“These skilled and dedicated people make it possible for the trains to run on time, and all they want is to be paid the
market rate,” says RMTU organiser Rudd Hughes.
“When we get on board a train we assume it’ll be a safe journey, and when we arrive safely at our destination we have
them to thank.”
If maintenance staff are locked out and prevented from working by their employer for 30 days, rail workers elsewhere in
Auckland Transport’s Metro network cannot be confident in the safety of their machines and will face health and safety
“Passenger safety is our top priority, and our members will not allow a foreign corporation to risk lives with its
arrogant, cost-cutting agenda,” says Mr Hughes.
“If CAF workers are prevented from safely maintaining Auckland’s trains, those trains will stop moving.”
The Spanish company increased its revenue
by 39% to €2 billion in 2018, and in its first quarter results
has announced a 20% increase in net profit.
CAF bosses have openly stated that their refusal to pay fair wages is “not a question of affordability”.
“This company pays below market wages to vulnerable migrant workers, and gets away with it thanks to conditions in their
visa status,” says Mr Hughes.
“The profits made by this exploitation are funnelled overseas, and these workers have had enough - we will not be
bullied into submission.”